AARON m English, French, German, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name אַהֲרֹן ('Aharon)
, which is most likely of unknown Egyptian origin. Other theories claim a Hebrew derivation, and suggest meanings such as "high mountain"
. In the Old Testament this name is borne by the older brother of Moses
. He acted as a spokesman for his brother when they appealed to the pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. Aaron's rod produced miracles and plagues to intimidate the pharaoh. After the departure from Egypt and arrival at Mount Sinai, God installed Aaron as the first high priest of the Israelites and promised that his descendants would form the priesthood.... [more]
ADAM m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian, Catalan, Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
This is the Hebrew word for "man"
. It could be ultimately derived from Hebrew אדם ('adam)
meaning "to be red"
, referring to the ruddy colour of human skin, or from Akkadian adamu
meaning "to make"
AL m English
Short form of ALBERT
and other names beginning with Al
. A notable bearer is American actor Al Pacino (1940-).
ALAN m English, Scottish, Breton, French
The meaning of this name is not known for certain. It was used in Brittany at least as early as the 6th century, and it possibly means either "little rock"
in Breton. Alternatively, it may derive from the tribal name of the Alans, an Iranian people who migrated into Europe in the 4th and 5th centuries.... [more]
ALEJANDRO m Spanish
Spanish form of ALEXANDER
. This was the most popular name for boys in Spain from the 1990s until 2006 (and again in 2011).
ALEX m & f English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Greek, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Hungarian, Czech, Russian
Short form of ALEXANDER
, and other names beginning with Alex
ALICE f English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Czech
From the Old French name Aalis
, a short form of Adelais
, itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis
). This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century. It was among the most common names in England until the 16th century, when it began to decline. It was revived in the 19th century.... [more]
ALISON f English, French
Norman French diminutive of Aalis
). It was common in England, Scotland and France in the Middle Ages, and was later revived in England in the 20th century via Scotland. Unlike most other English names ending in son
, it is not derived from a surname.
ALVIN m English, Swedish
From a medieval form of any of the Old English names ÆLFWINE
. It was revived in the 19th century, in part from a surname that was derived from the Old English names. As a Scandinavian name it is derived from Alfvin
, an Old Norse cognate of Ælfwine
AMBER f English, Dutch
From the English word amber
that denotes either the gemstone, which is formed from fossil resin, or the orange-yellow colour. The word ultimately derives from Arabic عنبر ('anbar)
. It began to be used as a given name in the late 19th century, but it only became popular after the release of Kathleen Winsor's novel Forever Amber
AMY f English
English form of the Old French name Amée
(modern French aimée
), a vernacular form of the Latin Amata
. As an English name, it was in use in the Middle Ages (though not common) and was revived in the 19th century.
ANDREW m English, Biblical
English form of the Greek name Ἀνδρέας (Andreas)
, which was derived from ἀνδρεῖος (andreios)
meaning "manly, masculine"
, a derivative of ἀνήρ (aner)
meaning "man". In the New Testament the apostle Andrew, the first disciple to join Jesus
, is the brother of Simon Peter
. According to tradition, he later preached in the Black Sea region, with some legends saying he was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Andrew
, being a Greek name, was probably only a nickname or a translation of his real Hebrew name, which is not known.... [more]
ANDY m & f English
Diminutive of ANDREW
or sometimes ANDREA (2)
. American pop artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a famous bearer of this name.
ANGELA f English, Italian, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Russian, Macedonian, Late Roman
Feminine form of Angelus
). As an English name, it came into use in the 18th century.
ANN f English, Manx
English and Manx form of ANNE (1)
. In the English-speaking world, both this spelling and Anne
have been used since the late Middle Ages. Currently Ann
is less popular than Anne
(and both are less popular than their relatives Anna
ANTHONY m English
English form of the Roman family name Antonius
, which is of unknown Etruscan origin. The most notable member of the Roman family was the general Marcus Antonius (called Mark Antony in English), who for a period in the 1st century BC ruled the Roman Empire jointly with Augustus. When their relationship turned sour, he and his mistress Cleopatra were attacked and forced to commit suicide, as related in Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra
ANTON m German, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Dutch, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Slovene, Slovak, Macedonian, Croatian, Romanian, Estonian, Finnish, English
Form of Antonius
) used in various languages.
APRIL f English
From the name of the month, probably originally derived from Latin aperire
"to open", referring to the opening of flowers. It has only been commonly used as a given name since the 1940s.
ARTEMIS f Greek Mythology, Greek
Meaning unknown, possibly related either to Greek ἀρτεμής (artemes)
or ἄρταμος (artamos)
meaning "a butcher"
. Artemis was the Greek goddess of the moon and hunting, the twin of Apollo
and the daughter of Zeus
. She was known as Diana
to the Romans.
BARBARA f English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
Derived from Greek βάρβαρος (barbaros)
. According to legend, Saint Barbara was a young woman killed by her father Dioscorus, who was then killed by a bolt of lightning. She is the patron of architects, geologists, stonemasons and artillerymen. Because of her renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world in the Middle Ages. In England it became rare after the Protestant Reformation, but it was revived in the 19th century.
BERTRAM m English, German, Ancient Germanic
Means "bright raven"
, derived from the Germanic element beraht
"bright" combined with hramn
"raven". The Normans introduced this name to England. Shakespeare used it in his play All's Well That Ends Well
BILL m English
Short form of WILLIAM
. This spelling was first used in the 19th century. The change in the initial consonant may have been influenced by an earlier Irish pronunciation of the name. Famous bearers include basketball player Bill Russell (1934-), comedian Bill Cosby (1937-), American president Bill Clinton (1946-), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1955-).
BLAKE m English
From a surname that was derived from Old English blæc "black"
or blac "pale"
. A famous bearer of the surname was the poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827).
BOB m English, Dutch
Short form of ROBERT
. It arose later than Dob
, which were medieval rhyming nicknames of Robert. It was borne by the character Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol
(1843). Other famous bearers include American folk musician Bob Dylan (1941-) and Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley (1945-1981).
BONNIE f English
from the Scottish word bonnie
, which was itself derived from Middle French bon
"good". It has been in use as an American given name since the 19th century, and it became especially popular after the movie Gone with the Wind
(1939), in which it was the nickname of Scarlett's daughter.
BRAD m English
Short form of BRADLEY
, and other names beginning with Brad
. A famous bearer is American actor Brad Pitt (1963-).
BRENT m English
From an English surname, originally taken from various place names, perhaps derived from a Celtic word meaning "hill"
BRIAN m English, Irish, Ancient Irish
The meaning of this name is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the old Celtic element bre
, or by extension "high, noble"
. It was borne by the semi-legendary Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. The name was common in Ireland before his time, and even more so afterwards. It came into use in England in the Middle Ages, introduced by Breton settlers. It subsequently became rare, but was revived in the 20th century.
BRIDGET f Irish, English, Irish Mythology
Anglicized form of the Irish name Brighid
meaning "exalted one"
. In Irish mythology this was the name of the goddess of fire, poetry and wisdom, the daughter of the god Dagda. In the 5th century it was borne by Saint Brigid, the founder of a monastery at Kildare and a patron saint of Ireland. Because of the saint, the name was considered sacred in Ireland, and it did not come into general use there until the 17th century. In the form Birgitta
this name has been common in Scandinavia, made popular by the 14th-century Saint Birgitta of Sweden, patron saint of Europe.
BURTON m English
From a surname that was originally taken from an Old English place name meaning "fortified town"
. A famous bearer of the surname was Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), an explorer of Africa and Asia.
BUZ m Biblical
in Hebrew. This is the name of a son of ABRAHAM
's brother Nahor
in the Old Testament.
BYRON m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "place of the cow sheds"
in Old English. This was the surname of the romantic poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), the writer of Don Juan
and many other works.
CAMPBELL m & f English
From a Scottish surname meaning "crooked mouth"
from Gaelic cam
"crooked" and béul
CARL m German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English
German form of CHARLES
. Two noteworthy bearers of the name were the German mathematician Carl Gauss (1777-1855), who made contributions to number theory and algebra as well as physics and astronomy, and the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961), who founded analytical psychology. It was imported to America in the 19th century by German immigrants.
CAROL (1) f & m English
Short form of CAROLINE
. It was formerly a masculine name, derived from CAROLUS
. The name can also be given in reference to the English vocabulary word, which means "song" or "hymn".
CASEY m & f English, Irish
From an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of Ó Cathasaigh
meaning "descendant of CATHASACH"
. This name can be given in honour of Casey Jones (1863-1900), a train engineer who sacrificed his life to save his passengers. In his case, Casey
was a nickname acquired because he was raised in the town of Cayce, Kentucky.
CHARLIE m & f English
Diminutive or feminine form of CHARLES
. A famous bearer was the British comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977). It is also borne by Charlie Brown, the main character in the comic strip Peanuts
by Charles Schulz.
CHARLOTTE f French, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch
French feminine diminutive of CHARLES
. It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century. It was the name of a German-born 18th-century queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland. Another notable bearer was Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the three Brontë sisters and the author of Jane Eyre
CHASE m English
From a surname meaning "chase, hunt"
in Middle English, originally a nickname for a huntsman.
CHER f English
Short form of CHERYL
. In the case of the American musician Cher (1946-), it is short for her real name CHERILYN
CHRISTOPHER m English
From the Late Greek name Χριστόφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST"
, derived from Χριστός (Christos)
combined with φέρω (phero)
meaning "to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint Christopher who carried the young Jesus
across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.... [more]
CHUCK m English
Diminutive of CHARLES
. It originated in America in the early 20th century. Two famous bearers of this name were pilot Chuck Yeager (1923-), the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound, and the musician Chuck Berry (1926-2017), one of the pioneers of rock music.
CLARK m English
From an English surname meaning "cleric"
, from Old English clerec
originally meaning "priest". A famous bearer of the surname was William Clark (1770-1838), an explorer of the west of North America. It was also borne by the American actor Clark Gable (1901-1960).
CLAYTON m English
From a surname that was originally derived from various English place names, all meaning "clay settlement"
in Old English.
CLIVE m English
From a surname meaning "cliff"
in Old English, originally belonging to a person who lived near a cliff.
CLYDE m English
From the name of the River Clyde in Scotland, from Cumbric Clud
, which is of uncertain origin. It became a common given name in America in the middle of the 19th century, perhaps in honour of Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1863) who was given the title Baron Clyde in 1858.
COCO f Various
Diminutive of names beginning with Co
, influenced by the word cocoa
. However, this was not the case for French fashion designer Coco Chanel (real name Gabrielle), whose nickname came from the name of a song she performed while working as a cabaret singer.
CONCEPCIÓN f Spanish
in Spanish. This name is given in reference to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
. A city in Chile bears this name.
CRAIG m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Gaelic creag
, originally indicating a person who lived near a crag.
CURTIS m English
From an English surname that originally meant "courteous"
in Old French.
DALE m & f English
From an English surname that originally belonged to a person who lived near a dale or valley.
DANA (2) m & f English
From a surname that originally belonged to a person who was Danish. It was originally given in honour of American lawyer Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), the author of Two Years Before the Mast
DANIEL m English, Hebrew, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Croatian, Armenian, Georgian, Biblical, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name דָּנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel)
meaning "God is my judge"
, from the roots דִּין (din)
meaning "to judge" and אֵל ('el)
meaning "God". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world.... [more]
DANIELLE f French, English
French feminine form of DANIEL
. It has been commonly used in the English-speaking world only since the 20th century.
DEIRDRE f English, Irish, Irish Mythology
From the older Gaelic form Derdriu
, meaning unknown, possibly derived from Old Irish der
. This was the name of a tragic character in Irish legend who died of a broken heart after Conchobhar
, the king of Ulster, forced her to be his bride and killed her lover Naoise
DEREK m English
From the older English name Dederick
, which was in origin a Low German form of THEODORIC
. It was imported to England from the Low Countries in the 15th century.
DESMOND m English, Irish
From an Irish surname that was derived from Deasmhumhain
meaning "South Munster"
, originally indicating a person who came from that region in Ireland.
DONALD m Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Domhnall
meaning "ruler of the world"
, composed of the old Celtic elements dumno
"world" and val
"rule". This was the name of two 9th-century kings of the Scots and Picts. It has traditionally been very popular in Scotland, and during the 20th century it became common in the rest of the English-speaking world. This is the name of one of Walt Disney's most popular cartoon characters, Donald Duck. It was also borne by Australian cricket player Donald Bradman (1908-2001).
DONNA f English
From Italian donna
. It is also used as a feminine form of DONALD
DORIS f English, German, Croatian, Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
From the Greek name Δωρίς (Doris)
, which meant "Dorian woman"
. The Dorians were a Greek tribe who occupied the Peloponnese starting in the 12th century BC. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys. It began to be used as an English name in the 19th century. A famous bearer is the American actress Doris Day (1924-2019).
EDWARD m English, Polish
Means "rich guard"
, derived from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and weard
"guard". This was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings, the last being Saint Edward the Confessor shortly before the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. He was known as a just ruler, and because of his popularity his name remained in use after the conquest when most other Old English names were replaced by Norman ones. The 13th-century Plantagenet king Henry III named his son and successor after the saint, and seven subsequent kings of England were also named Edward.... [more]
EDWIN m English, Dutch
Means "rich friend"
, from the Old English elements ead
"wealth, fortune" and wine
"friend". This was the name of a 7th-century Northumbrian king, regarded as a saint. After the Norman Conquest the name was not popular, but it was eventually revived in the 19th century. A notable bearer was the astronaut Edwin Aldrin (1930-), also known as Buzz, the second man to walk on the moon.
EILEEN f Irish, English
Anglicized form of EIBHLÍN
. It is also sometimes considered an Irish form of HELEN
. It first became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland near the end of the 19th century.
ELAINE f English, Arthurian Romance
From an Old French form of HELEN
. It appears in Arthurian legend; in Thomas Malory's 15th-century compilation Le Morte d'Arthur
Elaine was the daughter of Pelleas, the lover of Lancelot
, and the mother of Galahad
. It was not commonly used as an English given name until after the appearance of Tennyson's Arthurian epic Idylls of the King
ELEANOR f English
From the Old French form of the Occitan name Alienòr
. Among the name's earliest bearers was the influential Eleanor of Aquitaine (12th century), who was the queen of Louis VII, the king of France, and later Henry II, the king of England. She was named Aenor
after her mother, and was called by the Occitan phrase alia Aenor "the other AENOR"
in order to distinguish her from her mother. However, there appear to be examples of bearers prior to Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is not clear whether they were in fact Aenors who were retroactively recorded as having the name Eleanor, or whether there is an alternative explanation for the name's origin.... [more]
ELI (1) m English, Hebrew, Biblical, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew
in Hebrew. In the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament he is a high priest of the Israelites. He took the young Samuel
into his service and gave him guidance when God spoke to him. Because of the misdeeds of his sons, Eli and his descendants were cursed to die before reaching old age.... [more]
ELIAS m Portuguese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Dutch, Greek, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Form of ELIJAH
used in several languages. This is also the form used in the Greek New Testament.
ELLEN (1) f English
Medieval English form of HELEN
. This was the usual spelling of the name until the 19th century, when the form Helen
also became common.
ELTON m English
From a surname that was originally from a place name meaning "Ella's town"
in Old English. A famous bearer of this name is British musician Elton John (1947-), born Reginald Dwight, who adopted his stage name in honour of his former bandmate Elton Dean (1945-2006).
EMMA f English, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Dutch, German, Hungarian, Ancient Germanic
Originally a short form of Germanic names that began with the element ermen
. It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma
ETHAN m English, French, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name אֵיתָן ('Eitan)
meaning "solid, enduring, firm"
. In the Old Testament this name is borne by a few minor characters, including the wise man Ethan the Ezrahite, supposedly the author of Psalm 89.... [more]
EVA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Faroese, Greek, Slovene, Bulgarian, Croatian, Russian, Georgian, Old Church Slavic, Biblical Latin
Form of EVE
used in various languages. This form is used in the Latin translation of the New Testament, while Hava
is used in the Latin Old Testament. The name appears in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1852) belonging to the character Little Eva, whose real name is in fact Evangeline.... [more]
FELIX m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English, Romanian, Ancient Roman, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From a Roman cognomen meaning "lucky, successful"
in Latin. It was acquired as an agnomen, or nickname, by the 1st-century BC Roman general Sulla. It also appears in the New Testament belonging to the governor of Judea who imprisoned Saint Paul
FIONA f Scottish, English
Feminine form of FIONN
. This name was (first?) used by the Scottish poet James Macpherson in his poem Fingal
(1762), in which it is spelled as Fióna
FRANK m English, German, Dutch, French
From a Germanic name that referred to a member of the Germanic tribe, the Franks. The Franks settled in the regions now called France and the Netherlands in the 3rd and 4th century. They possibly derived their tribal name from the name of a type of spear that they used. From medieval times, the various forms of this name have been commonly conflated with the various forms of Francis
. In modern times it is sometimes used as a short form of Francis
GARY m English
From an English surname that was derived from a Norman given name, which was itself originally a short form of names beginning with the Germanic element ger
. This name was popularized in the late 1920s the American actor Gary Cooper (1901-1961), who took his stage name from the city of Gary in Indiana where his agent was born.
GAVIN m English, Scottish
Medieval form of GAWAIN
. Though it died out in England, it was reintroduced from Scotland in the 20th century.
GEORGE m English, Romanian
From the Greek name Γεώργιος (Georgios)
, which was derived from the Greek word γεωργός (georgos)
meaning "farmer, earthworker"
, itself derived from the elements γῆ (ge)
meaning "earth" and ἔργον (ergon)
meaning "work". Saint George was a 3rd-century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.... [more]
GEORGIA f English, Greek
Latinate feminine form of GEORGE
. This is the name of an American state, which was named after the British king George II. A famous bearer was the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986).
GERALD m English, German
From a Germanic name meaning "rule of the spear"
, from the elements ger
meaning "spear" and wald
meaning "rule". The Normans brought this name to Britain. Though it died out in England during the Middle Ages, it remained common in Ireland. It was revived in the English-speaking world in 19th century.
GILLIAN f English
Medieval English feminine form of JULIAN
. This spelling has been in use since the 13th century, though it was not declared a distinct name from Julian
until the 17th century.
GINO m Italian
Italian short form of names ending in gino
GLENN m Scottish, English
From a Scottish surname that was derived from Gaelic gleann "valley"
. A famous bearer of the surname was American astronaut John Glenn (1921-2016).
GRACE f English
From the English word grace
, which ultimately derives from Latin gratia
. This was one of the virtue names created in the 17th century by the Puritans. The actress Grace Kelly (1929-1982) was a famous bearer.
HANK m English
Originally a short form of Hankin
, which was a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. Since the 17th century in the United States this name has also been used as a diminutive of HENRY
, probably under the influence of the Dutch diminutive HENK
. A famous bearer is the American former baseball player Hank Aaron (1934-).
HARRY m English
Medieval English form of HENRY
. In modern times it is used as a diminutive of both Henry
. A famous bearer was American president Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). It is also the name of the boy wizard in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
series of books, first released in 1997.
HECTOR m English, French, Greek Mythology (Latinized), Arthurian Romance
Latinized form of Greek Ἕκτωρ (Hektor)
, which was derived from ἕκτωρ (hektor)
meaning "holding fast"
, ultimately from ἔχω (echo)
meaning "to hold, to possess". In Greek legend Hector was one of the Trojan champions who fought against the Greeks. After he killed Achilles
' friend Patroclus
in battle, he was himself brutally slain by Achilles, who proceeded to tie his dead body to a chariot and drag it about. This name also appears in Arthurian legends where it belongs to King Arthur
's foster father.... [more]
HEIDI f German, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, English
German diminutive of ADELHEID
. This is the name of the title character in the children's novel Heidi
(1880) by the Swiss author Johanna Spyri. The name began to be used in the English-speaking world shortly after the 1937 release of the movie adaptation, which starred Shirley Temple.
HELENA f German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Catalan, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Finnish, Estonian, Slovene, Croatian, Sorbian, English, Ancient Greek (Latinized), Greek Mythology (Latinized)
Latinate form of HELEN
HENRY m English
From the Germanic name Heimirich
meaning "home ruler"
, composed of the elements heim
"home" and ric
"ruler". It was later commonly spelled Heinrich
, with the spelling altered due to the influence of other Germanic names like Haganrich
, in which the first element is hagan
HONEY f English (Rare)
Simply from the English word honey
, ultimately from Old English hunig
. This was originally a nickname for a sweet person.
IONE f Greek Mythology, English
From Ancient Greek ἴον (ion)
meaning "violet flower"
. This was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, though perhaps based on the Greek place name Ionia
, a region on the west coast of Asia Minor.
IRA (1) m Biblical, English, Hebrew
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of King David
's priest. As an English Christian given name, Ira
began to be used after the Protestant Reformation. In the 17th century the Puritans brought it to America, where remained moderately common into the 20th century.
ISAAC m English, Spanish, Catalan, Jewish, Biblical, Biblical Latin
From the Hebrew name יִצְחָק (Yitzchaq)
meaning "he will laugh, he will rejoice"
, derived from צָחַק (tzachaq)
meaning "to laugh". The Old Testament explains this meaning, by recounting that Abraham
laughed when God told him that his aged wife Sarah
would become pregnant with Isaac (see Genesis 17:17
), and later Sarah laughed when overhearing the same prophecy (see Genesis 18:12
). When Isaac was a boy, God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, though an angel prevented the act at the last moment. Isaac went on to become the father of Esau
with his wife Rebecca
IVY f English
From the English word for the climbing plant that has small yellow flowers. It is ultimately derived from Old English ifig
JACK m English
Derived from Jackin
), a medieval diminutive of JOHN
. It is often regarded as an independent name. During the Middle Ages it was very common, and it became a slang word meaning "man". It was frequently used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as Jack and the Beanstalk
, Little Jack Horner
, and Jack Sprat
JACKSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of JACK"
. A famous bearer of the surname was American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845).
JAMES m English, Biblical
English form of the Late Latin name Iacomus
, a variant of the Biblical Latin form Iacobus
, from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov
). This was the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John
's brother, who was beheaded under Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus
JAMIE m & f Scottish, English
Originally a Lowland Scots diminutive of JAMES
. Since the late 19th century it has also been used as a feminine form.
JARED m English, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יָרֶד (Yared)
or יֶרֶד (Yered)
. This is the name of a close descendant of Adam
in the Old Testament. It has been used as an English name since the Protestant Reformation, and it was popularized in the 1960s by the character Jarrod Barkley on the television series The Big Valley
JASON m English, French, Greek Mythology (Anglicized), Biblical
From the Greek name Ἰάσων (Iason)
, derived from Greek ἰάομαι (iaomai)
meaning "to heal". In Greek mythology Jason was the leader of the Argonauts. After his uncle Pelias overthrew his father Aeson
as king of Iolcos, Jason went in search of the Golden Fleece in order to win back the throne. During his journeys he married the sorceress Medea
, who helped him gain the fleece and kill his uncle, but who later turned against him when he fell in love with another woman.... [more]
JASPER m English, Dutch, Judeo-Christian Legend
From Latin Gaspar
, perhaps from the biblical Hebrew word גִּזְבָּר (gizbar)
, derived from Persian ganzabara
. This name was traditionally assigned to one of the wise men (also known as the Magi, or three kings) who were said to have visited the newborn Jesus
. It has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. The name can also be given in reference to the English word for the gemstone.
JAY (1) m English
Short form of names beginning with the sound J
, such as JAMES
. It was originally used in America in honour of founding father John Jay (1749-1825), whose surname was derived from the jaybird.
JEAN (2) f English, Scottish
Medieval English variant of Jehanne
). It was common in England and Scotland during the Middle Ages, but eventually became rare in England. It was reintroduced to the English-speaking world from Scotland in the 19th century.
JENNIFER f English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish
From a Cornish form of the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar
). This name has only been common outside of Cornwall since the beginning of the 20th century, after it was featured in George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma
(1906). It barely ranked in the United until the late 1930s, when it began steadily growing in popularity, accelerating into the early 1970s. It was the most popular name for girls in America between 1970 and 1984, though it was not as common in the United Kingdom.... [more]
JIMMY m English
Diminutive of JAMES
. This was the usual name of American actor James Stewart (1908-1997).
JOAN (1) f English
Medieval English form of Johanne
, an Old French form of Iohanna
). This was the usual English feminine form of John
in the Middle Ages, but it was surpassed in popularity by Jane
in the 17th century. It again became quite popular in the first half of the 20th century, entering the top ten names for both the United States and the United Kingdom, though it has since faded.... [more]
JOE m English
Short form of JOSEPH
. Five famous sports figures who have had this name are boxers Joe Louis (1914-1981) and Joe Frazier (1944-), baseball player Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999), and football quarterbacks Joe Namath (1943-) and Joe Montana (1956-).
JOHN m English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Biblical
English form of Iohannes
, the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰωάννης (Ioannes)
, itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan)
meaning "YAHWEH is gracious"
, from the roots יוֹ (yo)
referring to the Hebrew God and חָנַן (chanan)
meaning "to be gracious". The Hebrew form occurs in the Old Testament (spelled Johanan
in the English version), but this name owes its popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered saints. The first is John the Baptist, a Jewish ascetic who is considered the forerunner of Jesus
. He baptized Jesus and was later executed by Herod
Antipas. The second is the apostle John, who is traditionally regarded as the author of the fourth gospel and Revelation. With the apostles Peter
(his brother), he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.... [more]
JORDAN m & f English, French, Macedonian, Serbian
From the name of the river that flows between the countries of Jordan and Israel. The river's name in Hebrew is יַרְדֵן (Yarden)
, and it is derived from יָרַד (yarad)
or "flow down"
. In the New Testament John
the Baptist baptizes Jesus
Christ in its waters, and it was adopted as a personal name in Europe after crusaders brought water back from the river to baptize their children. There may have been some influence from the Germanic name JORDANES
, notably borne by a 6th-century Gothic historian.... [more]
JOSEPH m English, French, German, Biblical
, the Latin form of Greek Ἰωσήφ (Ioseph)
, which was from the Hebrew name יוֹסֵף (Yosef)
meaning "he will add"
, from the root יָסַף (yasaf)
. In the Old Testament Joseph is the eleventh son of Jacob
and the first with his wife Rachel
. Because he was the favourite of his father, his older brothers sent him to Egypt and told their father that he had died. In Egypt, Joseph became an advisor to the pharaoh, and was eventually reconciled with his brothers when they came to Egypt during a famine. This name also occurs in the New Testament, belonging to Saint Joseph the husband of Mary
, and to Joseph of Arimathea.... [more]
JOYCE f & m English
From the medieval masculine name Josse
, which was derived from the earlier Iudocus
, which was a Latinized form of the Breton name Judoc
. The name belonged to a 7th-century Breton saint, and Breton settlers introduced it to England after the Norman Conquest. It became rare after the 14th century, but was later revived as a feminine name, perhaps because of similarity to the Middle English word joise
"to rejoice". This given name also formed the basis for a surname, as in the case of the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941).
JUDITH f English, Jewish, French, German, Spanish, Biblical
From the Hebrew name יְהוּדִית (Yehudit)
meaning "Jewish woman"
, feminine of יְהוּדִי (yehudi)
, ultimately referring to a person from the tribe of Judah
. In the Old Testament Judith is one of the Hittite wives of Esau
. This is also the name of the main character of the apocryphal Book of Judith. She killed Holofernes, an invading Assyrian commander, by beheading him in his sleep.... [more]
JUDY f English
Diminutive of JUDITH
. A well-known bearer of this name was the American singer and actress Judy Garland (1922-1969).
JULIAN m English, Polish, German
From the Roman name Iulianus
, which was derived from JULIUS
. This was the name of the last pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (4th century). It was also borne by several early saints, including the legendary Saint Julian the Hospitaller. This name has been used in England since the Middle Ages, at which time it was also a feminine name (from Juliana
, eventually becoming Gillian
JULIE f French, Danish, Norwegian, Czech, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese
French, Danish, Norwegian and Czech form of JULIA
. It has spread to many other regions as well. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the early 20th century.
JULIUS m Ancient Roman, English, German, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Czech
From a Roman family name that was possibly derived from Greek ἴουλος (ioulos)
. Alternatively, it could be related to the name of the Roman god JUPITER
. This was a prominent patrician family of Rome, who claimed descent from the mythological Julus, son of Aeneas
. Its most notable member was Gaius Julius Caesar, who gained renown as a military leader for his clever conquest of Gaul. After a civil war he became the dictator of the Roman Republic, but was eventually stabbed to death in the senate.... [more]
JUSTIN m English, French, Slovene
From the Latin name Iustinus
, which was derived from JUSTUS
. This was the name of several early saints including Justin Martyr, a Christian philosopher of the 2nd century who was beheaded in Rome. It was also borne by two Byzantine emperors. As an English name, it has occasionally been used since the late Middle Ages, though it did not become common until the 20th century. Famous modern bearers include pop stars Justin Timberlake (1981-) and Justin Bieber (1994-).
KATHERINE f English
From the Greek name Αἰκατερίνη (Aikaterine)
. The etymology is debated: it could derive from an earlier Greek name Ἑκατερινη (Hekaterine)
, itself from ἑκάτερος (hekateros)
meaning "each of the two"
; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE
; it could be related to Greek αἰκία (aikia)
; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name"
. In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρός (katharos)
, and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina
to reflect this.... [more]
KEITH m English, Scottish
From a Scottish surname that was originally derived from a place name, itself probably derived from the Brythonic element cet
. This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
KEVIN m English, Irish, French (Modern), German (Modern), Dutch (Modern), Swedish (Modern), Norwegian (Modern), Danish (Modern)
Anglicized form of the Irish name Caoimhín
meaning "handsome birth"
, derived from the older Cóemgein
, composed of the Old Irish elements cóem
"kind, gentle, handsome" and gein
"birth". Saint Caoimhín established a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland in the 6th century and is the patron saint of Dublin. It became popular in the English-speaking world outside of Ireland in the middle of the 20th century, and elsewhere in Europe in the late 20th century.
KIM (1) f & m English
At the present it is usually considered a short form of KIMBERLY
, but it in fact predates it as a given name. The author Rudyard Kipling used it for the title hero of his novel Kim
(1901), though in this case it was short for KIMBALL
. In her novel Show Boat
(1926) Edna Ferber used it for a female character who was born on the Mississippi River and was named from the initials of the states Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi. The name was popularized in America by the actresses Kim Hunter (1922-2002) and Kim Novak (1933-), both of whom assumed it as a stage name.
KIRK m English
From an English and Scottish surname meaning "church"
from Old Norse kirkja
, ultimately from Greek. A famous bearer was American actor Kirk Douglas (1916-), whose birth name was Issur Danielovitch.
KURT m German, English
German contracted form of CONRAD
. A famous bearer was the American musician Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).
LAWRENCE m English
Variant of LAURENCE (1)
. This spelling of the name is now more common than Laurence
in the English-speaking world, probably because Lawrence
is the usual spelling of the surname. The surname was borne by the author and poet D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), as well as the revolutionary T. E. Lawrence (1888-1935), who was known as Lawrence of Arabia.
LENORE f English
Short form of ELEANOR
. This was the name of the departed love of the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven
LEO m German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, English, Croatian, Late Roman
Derived from Latin leo
, a cognate of LEON
. It was popular among early Christians and was the name of 13 popes, including Saint Leo the Great who asserted the dominance of the Roman bishops (the popes) over all others in the 5th century. It was also borne by six Byzantine emperors and five Armenian kings. Another famous bearer was Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), a Russian novelist whose works include War and Peace
and Anna Karenina
. Leo is also the name of a constellation and the fifth sign of the zodiac.
LEONARD m English, Dutch, German, Polish, Romanian, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave lion"
, derived from the Germanic elements lewo
"lion" (of Latin origin) and hard
"brave, hardy". This was the name of a 5th-century Frankish saint from Noblac who is the patron of prisoners and horses. The Normans brought this name to England, where it was used steadily through the Middle Ages, becoming even more common in the 20th century.
LINCOLN m English
From a surname that was originally from the name of a city in England, called Lindum Colonia
by the Romans, derived from Brythonic lindo
"lake, pool" and Latin colonia
"colony". This name is usually given in honour of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president of the United States during the American Civil War.
LINDA f English, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, French, Latvian, Finnish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ancient Germanic
Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element lind
meaning "flexible, soft, mild"
. It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word linda
. In the English-speaking world this name experienced a spike in popularity beginning in the 1930s, peaking in the late 1940s, and declining shortly after that. It was the most popular name for girls in the United States from 1947 to 1952.
LIZ f English
Short form of ELIZABETH
. This is the familiar name of actress Elizabeth Taylor (1932-).
LOIS (1) f English, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Possibly derived from Greek λωίων (loion)
meaning "more desirable"
. Lois is mentioned in the New Testament as the mother of Eunice
and the grandmother of Timothy
. As an English name, it came into use after the Protestant Reformation. In fiction, this is the name of the girlfriend of the comic book hero Superman.
LORRAINE f English
From the name of a region in France, originally meaning "kingdom of LOTHAR
". Lothar was a Frankish king, the great-grandson of Charlemagne
, whose realm was in the part of France that is now called Lorraine
, or in German Lothringen
(from Latin Lothari regnum
). As a given name, it has been used in the English-speaking world since the late 19th century, perhaps due to its similar sound with Laura
. It became popular after World War I when the region was in the news, as it was contested between Germany and France.
LOUIS m French, English, Dutch
French form of Ludovicus
, the Latinized form of LUDWIG
. This was the name of 18 kings of France, starting with Louis I the son of Charlemagne
. Others include Louis IX (Saint Louis) who led two crusades and Louis XIV (called the Sun King) who was the ruler of France during the height of its power, the builder of the Palace of Versailles, and the longest reigning monarch in the history of Europe. It was also borne by kings of Germany (as Ludwig
), Hungary (as Lajos
), and other places.... [more]
LUKE m English, Biblical
English form of Latin Lucas
, from the Greek name Λουκᾶς (Loukas)
meaning "from Lucania"
, Lucania being a region in southern Italy (of uncertain meaning). Luke was a doctor who travelled in the company of the apostle Paul
. According to tradition, he was the author of the third gospel and Acts in the New Testament. He was probably of Greek ethnicity. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations.... [more]
LYLE m English
From an English surname that was derived from Norman French l'isle "island"
LYNETTE f English
Form of LUNED
used by Alfred Lord Tennyson in his 1872 poem Gareth and Lynette
. In modern times it is also regarded as a diminutive of LYNN
MADISON f & m English
From an English surname meaning "son of MAUD"
. It was not commonly used as a feminine name until after the movie Splash
(1984), in which the main character adopted it as her name after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue in New York City. It was ranked second for girls in the United States by 2001. This rise from obscurity to prominence in only 18 years represents an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage.... [more]
MAGNUS m Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Late Roman
Late Latin name meaning "great"
. It was borne by a 7th-century saint who was a missionary in Germany. It became popular in Scandinavia after the time of the 11th-century Norwegian king Magnus I, who was said to have been named after Charlemagne
, or Carolus Magnus in Latin (however there was also a Norse name Magni
). The name was borne by six subsequent kings of Norway as well as three kings of Sweden. It was imported to Scotland and Ireland during the Middle Ages.
MALCOLM m Scottish, English
From Scottish Gaelic Máel Coluim
, which means "disciple of Saint COLUMBA"
. This was the name of four kings of Scotland starting in the 10th century, including Malcolm III, who became king after killing Macbeth, the usurper who had murdered his father. The character Malcolm in Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth
(1606) is based on him. Another famous bearer was Malcolm X (1925-1965), an American civil rights leader.
MARCUS m Ancient Roman, Biblical Latin, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Roman praenomen, or given name, that was probably derived from the name of the Roman god MARS
. This was among the most popular of the Roman praenomina. Famous bearers include Marcus Tullius Cicero (known simply as Cicero), a 1st-century BC statesman and orator, Marcus Antonius (known as Mark Antony), a 1st-century BC politician, and Marcus Aurelius, a notable 2nd-century emperor. This was also the name of a pope of the 4th century. This spelling has occasionally been used in the English-speaking world, though the traditional English form Mark
has been more common.
MARGARET f English
Derived from Latin Margarita
, which was from Greek μαργαρίτης (margarites)
, a word that was probably ultimately a borrowing from an Indo-Iranian language. Saint Margaret, the patron of expectant mothers, was martyred at Antioch in the 4th century. Later legends told of her escape from a dragon, with which she was often depicted in medieval art. The saint was popular during the Middle Ages, and her name has been widely used in the Christian world.... [more]
MARILYN f English
Combination of MARY
. It has been used since the start of the 20th century. A famous bearer was the American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
MARIO m Italian, Spanish, German, Croatian
Italian and Spanish form of MARIUS
. Famous bearers include American racecar driver Mario Andretti (1940-) and Canadian hockey player Mario Lemieux (1965-).
MARION (2) m English
From a French surname that was derived from MARION (1)
. This was the real name of American actor John Wayne (1907-1979), who was born Marion Robert Morrison.
MARK m English, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Biblical
Form of Latin MARCUS
used in several languages. Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel in the New Testament. Though the author's identity is not certain, some traditions hold him to be the same person as the John Mark who appears in the Book of Acts. He is the patron saint of Venice, where he is supposedly buried. Though in use during the Middle Ages, Mark
was not common in the English-speaking world until the 19th century, when it began to be used alongside the classical form Marcus
MARTA f Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Polish, Czech, Slovak, German, Dutch, Romanian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian, Swedish, Icelandic, Latvian, Georgian
Form of MARTHA
used in various languages.
MARTIN m English, French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, Czech, Slovak, Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Finnish
From the Roman name Martinus
, which was derived from Martis
, the genitive case of the name of the Roman god MARS
. Saint Martin of Tours was a 4th-century bishop who is the patron saint of France. According to legend, he came across a cold beggar in the middle of winter so he ripped his cloak in two and gave half of it to the beggar. He was a favourite saint during the Middle Ages, and his name has become common throughout the Christian world.... [more]
MARTINA f German, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Hungarian, English, Swedish, Dutch, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Martinus
). Saint Martina was a 3rd-century martyr who is one of the patron saints of Rome.
MARVIN m English, German
Probably from an English surname that was derived from the given name MERVYN
. A famous bearer was the American musician Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).
MARY f English, Biblical
Usual English form of Maria
, the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριάμ (Mariam)
and Μαρία (Maria)
- the spellings are interchangeable - which were from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Miryam)
, a name borne by the sister of Moses
in the Old Testament. The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness"
, and "wished for child"
. However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved"
or mr "love"
MATTHEW m English, Biblical
English form of Ματθαῖος (Matthaios)
, which was a Greek form of the Hebrew name מַתִּתְיָהוּ (Mattityahu)
meaning "gift of YAHWEH"
, from the roots מַתָּן (mattan)
meaning "gift" and יָה (yah)
referring to the Hebrew God. Matthew, also called Levi
, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a tax collector, and supposedly the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. He is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. The variant Matthias
also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a separate apostle. The name appears in the Old Testament as Mattithiah
MELANIE f English, German, Dutch
, the French form of the Latin name Melania
, derived from Greek μέλαινα (melaina)
meaning "black, dark"
. This was the name of a Roman saint who gave all her wealth to charity in the 5th century. Her grandmother was also a saint with the same name.... [more]
MICHAEL m English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
From the Hebrew name מִיכָאֵל (Mikha'el)
meaning "who is like God?"
. This is a rhetorical question, implying no person is like God. Michael is one of the archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament he is named as a protector of Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament he is portrayed as the leader of heaven's armies in the war against Satan, and is thus considered the patron saint of soldiers in Christianity.... [more]
MICHELLE f French, English, Dutch
French feminine form of MICHEL
. It has been common in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is the former American first lady Michelle Obama (1964-).
MILO m English, Ancient Germanic
Old Germanic form of MILES
, as well as the Latinized form. This form of the name was used in official documents during the Middle Ages, and it has been used independently since the 19th century.
MITCHELL m English
From a surname, itself derived from the given name MICHAEL
or in some cases from Middle English michel
meaning "big, large".
MOLLY f English
Diminutive of MARY
. It developed from Malle
, other medieval diminutives. James Joyce used this name in his novel Ulysses
(1920), where it belongs to Molly Bloom, the wife of the main character.
MONA (1) f Irish, English
Anglicized form of MUADHNAIT
. It is also associated with Greek monos
"one" and Leonardo da Vinci's painting the Mona Lisa
(in which case it is a contraction of Italian ma donna
meaning "my lady").
MONET f & m Various
From a French surname that was derived from either HAMON
. This was the surname of the French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926).
MORGAN (1) m & f Welsh, English, French
From the Old Welsh masculine name Morcant
, which was possibly derived from Welsh mor
"sea" and cant
"circle". Since the 1980s in America Morgan
has been more common for girls than boys, perhaps due to stories of Morgan
le Fay or the fame of actress Morgan Fairchild (1950-).
MYRTLE f English
Simply from the English word myrtle
for the evergreen shrub, ultimately from Greek μύρτος (myrtos)
. It was first used as a given name in the 19th century, at the same time many other plant and flower names were coined.
NANCY f English
Previously a medieval diminutive of ANNIS
, though since the 18th century it has been a diminutive of ANN
. It is now usually regarded as an independent name. During the 20th century it became very popular in the United States. A city in the Lorraine region of France bears this name, though it derives from a different source.
NAOMI (1) f English, Hebrew, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נָעֳמִי (Na'omi)
. In the Old Testament this is the name of the mother-in-law of Ruth
. After the death of her husband and sons, she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. There she declared that her name should be Mara
(see Ruth 1:20
NAOMI (2) f & m Japanese
From Japanese 直 (nao)
meaning "straight" and 美 (mi)
meaning "beautiful" (usually feminine) or 己 (mi)
meaning "self" (usually masculine). Other kanji combinations can also form this name.
NED m English
Diminutive of EDWARD
. It has been used since the 14th century, and may have had root in the medieval affectionate phrase mine Ed
, which was later reinterpreted as my Ned
NEIL m Irish, Scottish, English
From the Gaelic name Niall
, which is of disputed origin, possibly meaning "champion"
. This was the name of a semi-legendary 4th-century Irish king, Niall of the Nine Hostages.... [more]
NESTOR m Greek Mythology, Russian
Means "returner, homecomer"
in Greek, from νέομαι (neomai)
meaning "to return". In Homer
this was the name of the king of Pylos, famous for his great wisdom and longevity, who acted as a counselor to the Greek allies.
NICHOLAS m English
From the Greek name Νικόλαος (Nikolaos)
meaning "victory of the people"
, derived from Greek νίκη (nike)
meaning "victory" and λαός (laos)
meaning "people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
NICOLE f French, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
NOAH (1) m English, German, Biblical
From the Hebrew name נֹחַ (Noach)
meaning "rest, repose"
, derived from the root נוּחַ (nuach)
. According to the Old Testament, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and animals of each species to survive the Great Flood. After the flood he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. He was the father of Shem
NORMAN m English, Ancient Germanic
From an old Germanic byname meaning "northman"
, referring to a Viking. The Normans were Vikings who settled on the coast of France, in the region that became known as Normandy. In England the name Norman
was used before the Norman Conquest, first as a nickname for Scandinavian settlers and later as a given name. After the Conquest it became more common, but died out around the 14th century. It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to a character by this name in C. M. Yonge's 1856 novel The Daisy Chain
OLIVIA f English, Italian, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
This name was used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy Twelfth Night
(1602). This was a rare name in Shakespeare's time that may have been based on OLIVA
, or directly from the Latin word oliva
. In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.... [more]
PAMELA f English
This name was invented in the late 16th century by the poet Sir Philip Sidney for use in his poem Arcadia
. He possibly intended it to mean "all sweetness"
from Greek πᾶν (pan)
meaning "all" and μέλι (meli)
meaning "honey". It was later employed by author Samuel Richardson for the heroine in his novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded
(1740), after which time it became used as a given name. It did not become popular until the 20th century.
PAOLO m Italian
Italian form of Paulus
). Paolo Uccello and Paolo Veronese were both Italian Renaissance painters.
PAT m & f English
Short form of PATRICK
. A famous bearer of this name was Pat Garrett (1850-1908), the sheriff who shot Billy the Kid.
PATRICK m Irish, English, French, German, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
From the Latin name Patricius
, which meant "nobleman"
. This name was adopted in the 5th-century by Saint Patrick, whose birth name was Sucat. He was a Romanized Briton who was captured and enslaved in his youth by Irish raiders. After six years of servitude he escaped home, but he eventually became a bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. He is traditionally credited with Christianizing the island, and is regarded as Ireland's patron saint.... [more]
PATTY f English
Originally a variant of Matty
, a 17th-century diminutive of MARTHA
. It is now commonly used as a diminutive of PATRICIA
PAUL m English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Romanian, Biblical
From the Roman family name Paulus
, which meant "small"
in Latin. Paul was an important leader of the early Christian church. According to Acts in the New Testament, he was a Jewish Roman citizen who converted to Christianity after the resurrected Jesus
appeared to him. After this he travelled the eastern Mediterranean as a missionary. His original Hebrew name was Saul
. Many of the epistles in the New Testament were authored by him.... [more]
PAULA f German, English, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Latvian, Croatian, Ancient Roman
Feminine form of Paulus
). This was the name of a 4th-century Roman saint who was a companion of Saint Jerome
PEGGY f English
Medieval variant of Meggy
, a diminutive of MARGARET
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
PETER m English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Slovene, Slovak, Biblical
Derived from Greek Πέτρος (Petros)
. This is a translation used in most versions of the New Testament of the name Cephas
, meaning "stone" in Aramaic, which was given to the apostle Simon
(compare Matthew 16:18
and John 1:42
). Simon Peter was the most prominent of the apostles during Jesus' ministry and is often considered the first pope.... [more]
PHIL m English
Short form of PHILIP
and various other names beginning with Phil
, often a Greek element meaning "friend, dear, beloved".
PHYLLIS f Greek Mythology, English, German
in Greek. In Greek mythology this was the name of a woman who killed herself out of love for Demophon and was subsequently transformed into an almond tree. It began to be used as a given name in England in the 16th century, though it was often confused with Felicia
PING m & f Chinese
From Chinese 平 (píng)
meaning "level, even, peaceful". Other characters can also form this name.
POLLY f English
Medieval variant of MOLLY
. The reason for the change in the initial consonant is unknown.
RAINBOW f English (Rare)
From the English word for the arc of multicoloured light that can appear in a misty sky.
RALPH m English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German
Contracted form of the Old Norse name RÁÐÚLFR
(or its Norman form Radulf
). Scandinavian settlers introduced it to England before the Norman Conquest, though afterwards it was bolstered by Norman influence. In the Middle Ages it was usually spelled Ralf
, but by the 17th century it was most commonly Rafe
, reflecting the normal pronunciation. The Ralph
spelling appeared in the 18th century. A famous bearer of the name was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet and author who wrote on transcendentalism.
RAMONA f Spanish, Romanian, English
Feminine form of RAMÓN
. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona
(1884), as well as several subsequent movies based on the book.
REUBEN m Biblical, Hebrew, English
Means "behold, a son"
in Hebrew. In the Old Testament he is the eldest son of Jacob
and the ancestor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Reuben was cursed by his father because he slept with Jacob's concubine Bilhah
. It has been used as a Christian name in Britain since the Protestant Reformation.
REX m English
From Latin rex
. It has been used as a given name since the 19th century.
RHONDA f English
Probably intended to mean "good spear" from Welsh rhon
"spear" and da
"good", but possibly influenced by the name of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, which means "noisy". It has been in use only since the 20th century. Its use may have been partially inspired by Margaret Mackworth, Viscountess Rhondda (1883-1956), a British feminist.
RICHARD m English, French, German, Czech, Slovak, Dutch, Ancient Germanic
Means "brave ruler"
, derived from the Germanic elements ric
"ruler, mighty" and hard
"brave, hardy". The Normans introduced this name to Britain, and it has been very common there since that time. It was borne by three kings of England including Richard I the Lionheart, one of the leaders of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.... [more]
RITA f Italian, English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latvian, Lithuanian
Short form of MARGHERITA
and other names ending in rita
. A famous bearer was American actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987).